8 Causes Of My Reverse Osmosis Water Is Cloudy And Their Fixes

Have you ever noticed your reverse osmosis water is cloudy? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

This is a common issue with RO units and can be caused by several factors, including improper installation or maintenance.

Still, fortunately, there are also several ways to fix the problem.

This blog post will explore the possible causes of cloudy reverse osmosis of water and how to clear it up. Stay tuned!

How Does Reverse Osmosis Work?

According to epa.gov drinking water holds unsafe levels of contaminants. It can cause health issues, such as gastrointestinal illnesses, nervous system, or reproductive effects. So it is most important to drink pure water regularly.

Reverse osmosis is a water filtration system that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants from drinking water.

RO unit uses a pressure pump to force water through the membrane, which acts as a barrier and only allows pure H2O molecules to pass through.

The contaminant is left behind in hard water and flushed into the drain line, and filtered water is piped into the storage tank.

Water softeners have several stages of water treatment, including a sediment filter and activated carbon filter, which reduce chlorine, total dissolved solids, and other common contaminants.

Why My Reverse Osmosis Water Is Cloudy, And What Can I Do About It?

The most common causes of cloudy RO water are:

  1. Municipal water supply
  2. Faulty semi-permeable membrane
  3. Algae or bacteria growth in the storage tank
  4.  Air bubbles in reverse osmosis system
  5. Improperly installed membrane and filter system
  6. New water filter
  7. The water is too hard
  8. Other reasons for cloudy water

1. Inadequately filtered water from the municipal water supply

Unlike a water filtration system, do not remove 100% of the impurities from water.

It’s essential to ensure all cloudy tap water has been filtered before starting the RO process.

Don’t worry; this is not as difficult as it sounds – many modern city water supplies use a combination of filters and disinfectants to remove harmful microbes.

Suppose your municipality is somewhat antiquated, or you find that cloudy water persists despite flushing.

In that case, you can install a sediment water filter on your kitchen faucet.

2. Faulty semi-permeable membrane

Faulty semi permeable membrane work

A faulty membrane can cause water to become cloudy due to small particles that cannot pass through the filter.

If the membrane is not functioning correctly, microscopic particles may get trapped on its surface.

Over time, this can cause the bottled water to become cloudy from all the tiny bits of material that could not pass through the filter.

Suppose you are seeing cloudy water after consuming RO filtered water. In that case, it may indicate that your membrane is not working correctly.

If the problem persists, we recommend having water filtration systems checked to ensure all filters are in good condition.

3. Algae or other bacteria growth in the storage tank

If your system includes a storage tank, algae and other bacteria can grow inside if they aren’t eliminated by the sediment RO filter.

Algae or other bacteria can grow in the storage tank and become cloudy. If the water is murky, there may be bacteria present.

If the water appears green or foul smelling, it may also be contaminated with algae.

Water testing is essential for bacteria and algae before using it.

You can prevent algae or bacteria growth in the storage tank by draining and cleaning it regularly or installing an ultraviolet light in the storage tank.

4. Air bubbles in reverse osmosis system

Reverse osmosis systems need between one and three liters of clean water to flush the system after each use.

If your tanks are less than half full, the water may not be enough to push all of the trapped air bubbles out of the process.

This can lead to cloudy Reverse Osmosis water quality.

Fortunately, this is another easy problem to fix – just fill your tanks halfway and wait about half an hour before using the system again.

5. Improperly installed membrane and filter system

installing membrane and filter system

This mistake is one of the most common causes of cloudy RO water, and it’s all too easy to make if you’re not careful during installation.

For example, it’s essential to have the correct type of faucet installed with an air gap between the RO system and the spout; otherwise, contaminants will be forced back into the water.

The filter housings must also be connected properly, or they’ll leak unfiltered hard water into the storage tank.

6. New water filter

The new RO water filter can cause water to be cloudy when you first use it.

This is because the filter has not yet had a chance to adjust to your drinking water parameters.

After you’ve used the filter for a while, the filtering process will become more efficient, and the resulting water will be more transparent.

If the water is cloudy, try running it through a filter cartridge again or using bottled water until the filter adjusts to more transparent filtered water.

If it still appears cloudy, you may need to replace the filter or contact the plumbing service professionals.

As the table shows the time when you need to change the RO filter:

Filter TypeChanging Time
Sediment Filter6-12 Months
Carbon Filter6-12 Months
Reverse Osmosis MembraneEvery 24 Months
Polishing Filter6-12 Months

*Filter Schedule will vary based on local water conditions, water hardness, and household usage.

7. The water is too hard

In the affluent, this cloudy is represented by a transparent scale. The water filter cannot be utilized indiscriminately in certain regions.

This is not to say that your filter is not so efficient, but it depends on water quality.

The water quality may be frequently hard (too many minerals) in some regions and cloudy (too much turbidity) in others, resulting in a transparent scale.

The effluent contains this because of the hard water quality.

It may be difficult to remove, but it is preferable to soften the water with water softeners before filtering it with a water filter.

You can quickly know the hardness of your water with the table below:

Degree of hardnessCalcium carbonate: Milligrams per literCalcium carbonate: Grains per gallon
Soft0 – 600 – 3.5
Moderately hard60 – 1203.5 – 7
Hard120-1807 – 10.5
Very hardMore than 180More than 10.5

8. Other reasons for cloudy water.

Although less common, cloudy RO water can also result from low water pressure or high temperatures.

If you think this is the case, it’s best to contact a professional fitter for assistance.

You Can Do A Few Things To Reduce Or Prevent Cloudiness Altogether.

few things to reduce cloudy ro water

Reverse Osmosis filtration has issues due to improperly filtered tap water or membrane damage, ensuring all aspects are working to solve the problem.

  1. If you have a storage tank, install ultraviolet light to kill any bacteria that may cause cloudiness.
  2. Another option is to install a simple soft water filter on your faucet. This protects the system from contaminants and total dissolved solids and reduces any sediments in the water supply from the source.
  3. In addition, make sure you thoroughly flush your RO system after installing new filters or changing its operating temperature.
  4. If you’re unsure how to do this, follow the system’s manual for specific instructions.
  5. Remember that you should never clean the RO membrane with acidic or harsh chemicals because they can damage the RO filter beyond repair.
  6. Your RO system should produce clean water with just a little maintenance and patience.

How Can You Tell If Reverse Osmosis System Needs Maintenance Or A Replacement Filter?

If your water softener produces cloudy water, you should check all components.

The RO membrane and water filter cartridge might need cleaning or replacement.

However, you’ll also need to look at your setup and ensure no water leaks into the storage tank.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water?

When you run RO water flow through a filter, it removes dissolved minerals and other compounds that could potentially benefit your health.

Add an additional water treatment stage to your RO system, like a dissolved mineral filter, to get these minerals back.

This can produce pure water quality that is tasty but more nutritious.

FAQs: Why Is My Reverse Osmosis Water Cloudy?

Is reverse osmosis water good for you?

RO water softener is actually a better option than cloudy tap water.
It’s free of any contaminant or dissolved solids. It doesn’t have the added fluoride and chlorine that municipal soft water supplies do.
However, it’s also devoid of added minerals and can lead to health issues like dehydration if not replenished.
If you want to add minerals to your RO water for health benefits. In that case, you can use a dissolved mineral filter.

How long can I store cloudy RO water?

Generally, it’s best to use cloudy water for non-consumable purposes, like watering plants or cleaning.
It’s not safe to drink immediately, but after letting it sit for a day or two, it should clear up.

Is the cloudy reverse osmosis drinking water safe?

There’s always the risk of bacteria in cloudy RO water, so it’s advised to rerun the system until it becomes clear.
If you can’t wait or your tank is full of cloudy water, it’s best to avoid drinking it.
Run the tank empty or clean reverse osmosis water filtration systems whenever possible before using the pure water again.
However, cloudy water may also result from low RO water pressure or high temperatures.
If this is the case, you can correct the problem by contacting a plumbing service for assistance.

Is cloudy RO water a sign that I need to replace my membrane?

The membrane may have reached the end of its lifespan. Still, it’s also possible that you dislodged some sediment during installation.
If the RO membrane isn’t under warranty, it’s probably best to replace it.
However, if you have a warranty or plan to keep the system for a while, try cleaning it.
If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the membrane.
The following video explains the steps to replace RO membrane and filters:


If you have doubt, why is My Reverse Osmosis Water Cloudy?

The issue can be caused by several factors, including improper installation or maintenance, but there are ways to fix it.

You should check all components to see if your Reverse Osmosis filtration produces black water.

If you can’t wait and do not find the solution, it’s best to avoid drinking it and contact a professional.

I hope this article was interesting and valuable to you!

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